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A Beautiful Home in Vermont

The property surrounding The Art of Humor Gallery is now for sale.  After it is sold the gallery will continue to operate online.  The landscaping and buildings were all  designed by artist Skip Morrow whose talents went well beyond illustrating on paper. This exquisite property includes three structures-a house, a studio and a gallery space beautifully landscaped on a mountainside adorned with two small ornamental ponds, a courtyard , a stone-terraced swimming pond, perennial gardens, open fields, wooded hiking/snowshoeing trails and historic stone walls.

Living here offers views and activities during all the seasons of Vermont that lure so many people to come here.  In summer, there are beautiful gardens, trails, and lakes located nearby for recreating.  In autumn, there is the spectacular foliage to enjoy while hiking mountain trails.  In winter the alpine and cross-country ski resorts and the snowshoe and snowmobile trails offer winter sports for everyone.  In addition, the villages of Wilmington and Dover are full of many wonderful artisan shops, restaurants and galleries. The 4-bedroom, 4-bath custom Ted Benson oak-post-and-beam house has a three-story brick chimney, hardwood floors, decks, balconies and a porch.  With its southern exposure, the passive solar 3-story solarium, with doors and balconies leading into the rooms of each of the floors, captures heat and distributes it throughout the home.

The two other connected buildings offer 2 baths, a two-car garage, art studio space, office space and a gallery space that can convert to a grand entertainment room.  Just 3 miles from the town of Wilmington at the end of a private road, this property is walking distance to the beach at Lake Raponda, and a short drive to the Harriman reservoir and the Mount Snow and Hermitage Ski Resorts. For a better look at what this property offers, please use these video links:

Video of Interior

Video of Exterior

 

You can also read the interesting Back Story below of how and when the land was developed by Skip and Laraine.   For further information and pictures, or for an appointment to see the property, please contact Laraine Morrow.

Laraine Morrow   laraine@skipmorrow.com    802-464-5523    802-233-8670 (text)

BACKSTORY

 

In 1982 cartoonist and musician Skip Morrow and wife, Laraine, purchased a parcel of land to build their new home.   Just having published two best-selling books, Skip began a full time career in the art world, which included the publication of more books and millions of greeting cards; advertising campaigns for major  corporations; graphic design work; sculptures and fine art paintings and prints.

 

The work on this mountainside property began with the clearing of land and the construction of the Ted Benson oak post-and-beam frame for the house. Skip Morrow designed the house with some suggestions from Ted Benson regarding the design of the passive solar 3-story sunroom facing southeast to capture solar heat.  Benson, whose work was based on historical precedents, had commented that he enjoyed working with Skip's non-traditional architectural design because it made him try new ideas.  The rest of the house was built by Gary Henry Construction.  Skip was a fan of interesting details such as balconies and secret doorways.  He made a secret bookshelf doorway that had been inspired by the one in the Wilmington White House Inn.  Carved into the house foundation, which can be seen in the basement crawlspace, is an inscription of  Skip's and Laraine's name, footprints, the date, and Skip's famous cat cartoon.

 

Skip and Laraine had two daughters, Megan born in 1983 and Lindsay born in 1989 who were raised here until they graduated from college and pursued their own careers in Massachusetts.  From 1986 to 1993 the lower level of the house was transformed into a pre-school where Megan and Lindsay and many other local pre-schoolers enjoyed indoor and outdoor activities.

 

In 1990 the garage and studio space above it, also designed by Skip, were built Gary Henry Construction with a breezeway connection to the house.  The studio provided ample space for Skip's art projects and printing equipment as well as for music rehearsals.  Skip's musical performances spanned from 1966 to 2019 and in 1992 he was joined by Laraine.  The basement of the garage was turned into a workshop where Skip enjoyed doing small carpentry jobs for the house.

 

After the construction of the studio, more land was cleared and a stone courtyard was laid by Skip who had been influenced by the private courtyards he observed on Nantucket Island, where he played music for many years.  The courtyard features a waterfall (coming from a glacial erratic boulder) flowing into a pond.  

 

While designing the landscaping and buildings, Skip intentionally incorporated the natural slope of the land, and terraces were placed to facilitate the making of gardens and playgrounds.  Another passion of Skip was to have groomed trails in the wooded portion of the 13-acre property.  After mapping out the trail system, a construction company came and created 6-foot wide cut-and-filled trails along the steep hillside, and Skip kept them mowed and cleared each year for the use of hiking and snowshoeing.  In addition to the trails, family and friends have enjoyed the long sledding slope traversing the south fields in winter.

 

In 2003 after their daughters moved out and into homes of their own, Skip and Laraine turned the third floor of the house into a boutique, two-bedroom B&B suite, and enjoyed welcoming guests there for 16 years.  Their guests enjoyed breakfasts while observing views from the indoor solarium balcony as well as from the outdoor balcony off of the East room.

 

In 2005 a new building, which Skip designed and referred to as the "Barn", was constructed by Scott Reed for the purpose of housing Skip's artwork as well as his tractors, mowers, and various lawn machinery, and it was named The Art of Humor Gallery.  Two of the 4 levels display his artwork; the first floor level features his earlier pen and ink and watercolor originals, and the second floor level features his digital Giclee prints.  Over a thousand pieces of his work are on display.  The third level is attic space and the basement level was for his lawn equipment.  The 10-foot high ceilings of the second level span wall to wall with no posts, thus giving the room a grand space as well as an acoustically excellent venue for music, where small concerts were sometimes performed by Skip and Laraine.  On the north side of the barn structure, before the clapboards were attached, Skip drew with red paint an enormous cat, which will remain covered until those clapboards need to be replaced.

 

The landscaping for this new building posed a very ambitious challenge for Skip.  He needed to design it in such a way as to connect it to the studio building.  Sitting on ledge, it was carefully constructed along with an adjacent spring-fed pond and stone patio terraces.  A spill-over pipe was installed at the surface level of the pond to divert overflow.  Another pipe was laid on the bottom with a plug in order to empty the pond.  It naturally fills with clean water from rain and ground springs, making it suitable for swimming.

 

With each new construction, Laraine added gardens with perennials, annuals, and shrubs, further adding to the landscaping.  Their home has been featured in one of Ted Benson's books and has been included in several local garden and art tours. Since Skip's passing, Laraine has meticulously kept up with the maintenance of the house, studio, gallery and grounds in honor of his hard work and creativity.  She is ready now to semi-retire and keep his work ongoing through their website skipmorrow.com.  Her hope is that this place will be a perfect dwelling for some family who will continue to appreciate and nurture the property as much as Skip and she did.

      

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